DALLAS, Oct. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) today announced plans to expand its footprint in Chicago and Houston to give more travelers access to Southwest's iconic Hospitality, low fares, and Customer-friendly policies.

Chicago O'Hare International Airport
Work is underway to add new service from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD), alongside existing service from the carrier's longtime Chicago home, Midway International Airport (MDW). Midway remains one of the busiest airports in Southwest's network. Since first arriving in Chicago in 1985, Southwest has grown into one of the city's largest employers with more than 4,800 Chicago-based Employees.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport
As Southwest approaches a commemoration of 50 years of flying, the carrier intends to return to Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), complementing its substantial operation at Houston Hobby (HOU). Intercontinental served as one of three airports where Southwest operated on its first day in operation, June 18, 1971. The carrier moved to Hobby Airport shortly thereafter though it operated service from both airports between 1980 and 2005. Southwest remains a key employer in the City of Houston, providing nearly 4,000 jobs.

"Southwest owes decades of success to our Employees and Customers who have supported our business in Chicago and Houston," said Gary Kelly, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Southwest Airlines. "Today's announcement furthers our commitment to both cities as we add service to share Southwest's value and Hospitality with more leisure and business travelers."

Service to both airports is anticipated to begin in the first half of 2021. Additional details, including schedules and fares, will be available soon.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements 
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Specific forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements related to the Company's intent to serve Chicago O'Hare International Airport and George Bush Intercontinental Airport. These forward-looking statements are based on the Company's current intent and expectations and are not guarantees of future actions. These statements involve risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and other factors that are difficult to predict and that could cause actual results to vary materially from those expressed in or indicated by them. Factors include, among others, (i) the Company's ability to obtain necessary government approvals and the impact of governmental regulations and other governmental actions related to the Company's operations; (ii) the extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on overall demand for air travel and the Company's related business plans and decisions; (iii) the impact of economic conditions, governmental actions, extreme or severe weather and natural disasters, fears of terrorism or war, actions of competitors, fuel prices, consumer perception, and other factors beyond the Company's control, on consumer behavior and the Company's business decisions, plans, and strategies; (iv) the Company's dependence on third parties; (v) the impact of labor matters on the Company's plans and expectations; and (vi) other factors, as described in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the detailed factors discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, and in the Company's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2020.

ABOUT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.
In its 50th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. continues to differentiate itself from other air carriers with exemplary Customer Service to a Customer base topping 130 million passengers in 2019. Southwest became the nation's largest domestic air carrier in 2003 and maintains that ranking based on the U.S. Department of Transportation's most recent reporting of domestic originating passengers boarded. In peak travel seasons during 2019, Southwest operated more than 4,000 weekday departures among a network of 101 destinations in the United States and 10 additional countries. In early 2020, the carrier added service to Hilo, Hawaii, and Cozumel, Mexico. Southwest will begin service to Palm Springs, California and Miami on Nov. 15, as well as two new seasonal destinations in Colorado, Steamboat Springs and Montrose (Telluride) on Dec. 19, 2020.

The carrier issued its Southwest® Promise in May 2020 to highlight new and round-the-clock efforts to support its Customers and Employees wellbeing and comfort. Among the changes are enhanced cleaning efforts at airports and onboard aircraft, face covering requirements for Customers and Employees, and capping the number of passengers on every flight to allow middle seats to remain open through Nov. 30, 2020. Additional details about the Southwest Promise are available at Southwest.com/Promise.

Southwest coined Transfarency® to describe its purposed philosophy of treating Customers honestly and fairly, and low fares actually staying low. Southwest is the only major U.S. airline to offer bags fly free® to everyone (first and second checked pieces of luggage, size and weight limits apply, some carriers offer free checked bags on select routes or in qualified circumstances). Southwest does not charge change fees, though fare differences might apply.

Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for a triple bottom line approach that contributes to the carrier's performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities they serve, and an overall commitment to efficiency and the planet. Learn more about how the carrier gives back to communities across the world by visiting Southwest.com/citizenship.  

Book Southwest Airlines' low fares online at Southwest.com or by phone at 800-I-FLY-SWA.

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SOURCE Southwest Airlines Co.

Copyright 2020 PR Newswire

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